Athens Tours: a girl with a guidebook looking at Acropolis

Are Athens Tours Worth the Cost? An Honest Look!

We’ve carefully examined the most popular Athens tours to help you decide if they’re the right choice for you. Make the most of your trip without wasting money.

Last updated: 06 Jul 2023

Should you book a guided tour of the Acropolis or not?

Is an Athens Mythology Tour worthwhile, or can you explore Athens independently without spending extra?

Is renting a bike in the historic city center a sensible option?

Here is an honest guide to help you decide if the most popular tours in Athens are worth the investment or if you might end up wasting your money.


What is the Best Way to Explore Athens?

Best season for Athens: Dionysiou Areopagitou Str.

My favorite way to explore a city is with step-by-step guides that I create myself.

After trying these itineraries, I upload them to this website.

As a result, you can find complete and free guides for Athens and other cities such as Bucharest, Hamburg, Krakow, and Prague.

Additionally, I use selected guided tours on many of my trips, as they provide in-depth understanding and keep the journey captivating.

In my experience, guided tours are especially useful in museums, attractions of historical importance, and specialized areas such as food and wine.


Is a Guided Tour of the Acropolis Worth it?

People walking at Ancient Agora, right under the Acropolis

Since the Acropolis is among the world’s most significant cultural heritage sites, be sure to make the most of your visit.

On the Hellenic Ministry of Culture’s official page, you will find plenty of reliable information from archaeologists to assist you in touring on your own and understanding what you see.

However, if I were you, I would opt for an audio tour or, even better, a live tour with an archaeologist if my budget permitted.

Keep reading for more information.


Do you Need a Tour Guide for Athens?

People at Monastiraki

Athens is a highly walkable city filled with historical monuments and intense life.

Most of these landmarks are located in the city center.

So, you can explore it all by yourself, choosing the guide and maps that best suit the length of your stay: Athens in 1 day, Athens in 2 days, Athens in 3 days, Athens in 4 days, or hidden gems in Athens.

However, if you want to enhance your trip, consider booking a guided tour for deeper insights and local knowledge.

Below, I have compiled a list of the most interesting tours based on their subject matter and ratings.


9 Most Popular Athens Tours

1. Hop-On Hop-Off Athens Busses

Red Hop-On Hop-Off Bus at Syntagma

To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of Hop-On Hop-Off Buses.

I prefer to walk around the city and explore the sights at my own pace.

Athens reinforces this belief, as its streets are full of traffic, and you might end up stuck on the road.

That said, I know that Hop-On Hop-Off Buses are quite popular, particularly among cruise ship visitors with limited time in the city.

So, if you’re up for a bus tour in Athens, there are plenty of options available.

Red Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and Blue Hop-On Hop-Off Bus are among the most popular services.

Both visit major Athens sights, Piraeus, and the Athenian Riviera.

Moreover, they include an audio guide and offer free cancellation up to 24 hours before.

Extra tip: On sunny days, think twice before sitting upstairs. It might get too hot, and sunburn lurks around the corner!


2. Athens Acropolis Tour

Athens Acropolis Tour: panoramic view of the Acropolis

If you’re going to take just one tour in Athens, the Athens Acropolis and Acropolis Museum Tour should be your choice!

The Acropolis is widely regarded as one of the world’s most important cultural and historical sites, and for good reason.

Visiting it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and having an archaeologist explain its rich history will only enhance your visit.

The tour also includes a visit to the Acropolis Museum, ranked among the top 5 museums in the world.

The duration of the visit is approximately 4 hours, and I recommend choosing the option including entrance tickets to avoid waiting at the ticket offices.

You can choose between these two highly-rated tours: Athens: Acropolis, Parthenon, & Acropolis Museum Guided Tour and Athens: Acropolis & Museum Tour with Optional Entry Ticket.

They are worth every penny.


3. Athens to Cape Sounion Tour

Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion

I adore Sounion. In fact, it’s my favorite spot to watch the best sunset in Athens.

The view from the area is beyond stunning and can be compared to other famous sunsets, such as that of Santorini.

The location is about 65 km (40 miles) away from the city center and isn’t easily accessible.

So booking a guided tour to Cape Sounion is a smart choice as you will get there by bus.

The archaeologist guide will help you explore the Temple of Poseidon and provide valuable information about Athens’ history.

Keep in mind that there are many Athens to Cape Sounion Tours available.

However, I recommend the one departing from Halandri Metro station (outside the city center); it will save you hours in case of traffic.

Overall, it’s an excellent half-day trip, well worth the investment.

I highly recommend it if you’re staying in Athens for three or more days.


4. Athens Bike Tour

Athens Bike Tour: woman riding a bike

Unfortunately, Athens isn’t a bike-friendly city.

Bike lanes are rare, and the city is hilly, making it difficult for those who want to make cycling their main means of transportation.

Nevertheless, an Athens eco bike tour using electric bikes can prove to be a good option to get a quick first taste of the city.

I would recommend it if you have limited time at your disposal; for example, if you’re only staying one or two days in Athens.

It will help you orient yourself, decide which attractions to return to, and spend more time exploring.

Both Athens: Old Town Highlights Electric Bike Tour and Historic Athens: Small Group Electric Bike Tour are solid choices with excellent reviews.

Extra tip: If you are visiting Athens in summer, choose a morning or afternoon tour. At midday, the heat and sun can become unbearable.


5. Athens Mythology Tour

Athens Mythology Tour: statue of Poseidon

Greek mythology is full of gods, goddesses, demigods, and other supernatural beings.

If you want to learn more about Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, and Hermes while exploring the city, then an Athens Mythology Tour might be your thing.

During your visit, you will be able to see some of the most important sites like the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus and hear about the myths and legends of Ancient Greece.

If you aren’t on a tight budget, it’s a great option to dive into the city’s past and get much more out of your visit.

I guarantee that you won’t get bored at all!


6. Athens Food Tour

Food market in Athens

Food lovers are highly likely to find their heaven on earth in Athens.

Greek cuisine is full of delicious dishes, which extend far beyond souvlaki and tzatziki.

Following the Athens: Gourmet Food Tour, you can taste traditional dishes and visit multiple restaurants you might have skipped on your own.

You will try koulouri (sesame bread rings), loukoumades (Greek donuts), local pies and cheeses, and other deli produce.

On the other hand, if you are more of a street food type, then you can check out the Athens: Street Food Tasting Tour.

It’s a bit more affordable option and offers simpler dishes like traditional pies, souvlaki, and a Greek version of pizza.

If you are a food lover and want to learn more about the culinary history of Athens, these tours are worth a try.


7. Athens Cooking Class

Athens Cooking Class: man smiling while cooking

I don’t have the best relationship with cooking – in fact, I hardly cook at all.

However, the cooking classes I have attended have been very fun experiences, and I would definitely do them again.

So, if you are looking for a less common idea for your trip, an Athens cooking class around Greek food would make a great fit with added value.

In addition to eating your own food, you will learn how to incorporate more Mediterranean diet nutrients into your daily life.

A workshop worth checking is the Athens: Food Market Visit and Cooking Class with Wine.

It lasts four hours and, most importantly, includes simple and everyday recipes instead of complicated lessons.


8. Athens Wine Tasting Tour

A hand holding a glass of wine

Certainly, Greece does not have the reputation of France or Italy in wines.

Nevertheless, its climate is similar, favoring the development of remarkable varieties.

At the same time, more and more young Greek winemakers are making remarkable efforts, strengthening the sector’s development.

Even so, a wine-tasting tour in Athens is not for everyone.

However, if you are interested in wine, it is worth discovering the Greek vineyard and varieties such as Assyrtiko and Xinomavro.

Athens: Food and Wine Tasting Tour at Night is a bit pricey, but it is run by an excellent activity provider, making it a guaranteed choice.

Alternatively, check out the less expensive but worthwhile Athens: Wine Tasting with a Sommelier under the Acropolis.


9. Athens Private Tour

Athens Private Tour: Statue of Apollo

The biggest advantage of a Private Tour in Athens is that it adapts to your interests and preferences.

In addition, it’s a far more flexible choice compared to group tours.

You have the liberty to start at a time that’s convenient for you, and enjoy the comfort of hotel pick-up and drop-off.

If budget isn’t a constraint in pursuit of a truly memorable experience, it is worth booking top-notch Private Tours.

Athens Full-Day Private Sightseeing Tour and Athens Half-Day Private City Tour are two excellent tours with multiple high ratings.

One of the significant benefits of these private tours is that you can customize the stops, as well as the amount of time you spend at each location.

On the other hand, keep in mind that the professional driver acts as a local guide but is not allowed by Greek laws to conduct guided tours inside historical monuments, like the Acropolis.

If you want to include an official tour guide in the experience, you can email the service after the booking is completed and request one, but be aware that this comes with an extra fee.

Ultimately, taking into consideration the customization and flexibility, these private tours can be a valuable option especially if you have limited time in Athens.


Making the Most of Athens Tours

If you have a specific question about Athens tours, you can also reach out using the comments below.

I hope this review of Athens Tours helped you understand the pros and cons of booking a guided tour.

You might also be interested in the best neighborhoods to stay in Athens, what’s going on with Uber in Athens, and more ideas on the best day trips from Athens.

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Make Your Trip Easier

Accommodation
I always book my accommodation with a reliable service like Booking.com. Besides their price guarantee, you can rest assured that you will have 24/7 support in the event of any problems with your hotel. Always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking.

Airport Transfer
If you want to get to and from Athens Airport with peace of mind, I recommend pre-booking your taxi with Welcome Pickups. Their flat rate is a few euros more expensive than random taxis, but they are totally worth it. They use local English-speaking drivers, wait for you at the arranged meeting point, even if your arrival is delayed, and introduce you to the city along the way.

Flight
Don’t forget to use Skyscanner before booking your flights as it compares different airlines to provide the cheapest and fastest solutions. Moreover, you can save a lot of money if you are flexible with your dates.

Travel Insurance
Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on a trip. However, these things can happen, so do not miss taking out travel insurance: SafetyWing is the one I use, as its plans are affordable and can save you a lot of trouble.

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